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'Secret' Deal To Privatise Bin Collections

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

 

Making cash will come before collections if service outsourced, according to unions.

GMB has reacted with anger at a ‘secret’ deal to privatise bin collections in Antrim and Newtownabbey.

The local authority has proposed outsourcing the black bin and dry recycling collections in the Newtownabbey area and the brown bin collection service in both Newtownabbey and Antrim areas.

GMB, along with sister unions NIPSA and Unite, was not told about the deal – and neither were staff.

The unions have since learned the council’s intend to press ahead with one of four possible options, which contain outsourcing/privatisation plans for a significant part of the service.

There are now huge question marks of jobs and quality of the service.

Alan Perry, GMB Regional organiser, said:

“We are completely opposed to any outsourcing of the service.

“NIPSA, GMB and UNITE believe public services, such as the collection of waste are, without doubt, best kept within public ownership and delivery.

“When we hear about the cost-saving measures and savings that are apparently delivered through privatisation, we are extremely dubious to say the least.

“Our experience as unions who represent workers in the public service, tells us that these so-called ‘savings’ are invariably delivered through attacks on workers’ pay and conditions and cutting services to the public.

“When public sector contracts are awarded to private companies, irrespective of how experienced the company believe themselves to be, profit becomes the main driver for that contract.

“Money must be made and the service delivery becomes secondary to that.

“It also means that councils and the public lose control over waste streams and the service becomes disjointed.

“Our most immediate concern is for our members’ job security.

“However we are also concerned that this is the thin edge of the wedge and that plans to outsource the service in its entirety will follow suit.

“We also have genuine concerns for the public, as in other areas where such services have been given over to the private sector, a charge for that service has followed.

“Whilst there are no plans to do that at present, trade unions have very real concerns about the ‘domino effect’ and where this model of service delivery will lead.

“We are extremely disappointed that the council did not see fit to share the options that were being considered.

“This is not how we expect an employer to treat its workforce or their union representatives.

“We will be meeting with our members and council representatives in the coming days and weeks to decide on the most appropriate steps to deal with the current situation.

“The trade unions will attempt to adopt a positive approach to negotiations with the employer and we are determined to secure the best possible outcome for our members and defend the jobs and the service in both the short and long term.”

ENDS

Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

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